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The Swedish Tant: A Marker of Female Aging
Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Demographic Data Base. (Ageing and Living Conditons ALC)ORCID iD: 0000-0002-1830-9941
2013 (English)In: Journal of Women & Aging, ISSN 0895-2841, Vol. 25, no 2, 119-137 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

This article presents and analyzes findings from interviews with women aged 45–65; popular magazines targeting women in this age category, and popular books and blogs on a Swedish age-sensitive concept, tant. The term can be used in many different senses, ranging from polite to derogatory, connoting “aunt,” or “granny,” but also “little old lady” and “biddy”; the termtantig translating to “frumpish.” The article discusses different representations of tant, how she is used as a symbol of invisibility and no longer being seen as a sexual being, but outdated. The concept is used as a warning, indicating an unwanted way to grow old, when addressing middle-aged and older women. As of recently, tant has come to be celebrated by young women, praised for moral courage, for thrift and being represented as free from the male gaze, no longer aiming to please or fretting about appearances. The article sheds light on the different uses of the concept, where who is categorizing whom is of utmost importance. The tant is used as a symbol for doing age either by derogation or by celebration.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Taylor & Francis Group, 2013. Vol. 25, no 2, 119-137 p.
Keyword [en]
age, aging, gender, femininity
National Category
Cultural Studies
URN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-67991DOI: 10.1080/08952841.2013.732826OAI: diva2:615260

1. This study emanated from my thesis. There I also interviewed advertisers, journalists, and editors along with representatives of publishers' advertising departments. I am not referring to these interviews in this article. See Lövgren (2009).

Available from: 2013-04-09 Created: 2013-04-09 Last updated: 2015-12-08Bibliographically approved

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